According to Kaneta Lott, DDS, a pediatric dentist, candies that children should avoid this Halloween are those that stick.

“Chocolate would be one of the ones I would choose because chocolate does not stay in your mouth long,” says Lott.  “They have tannins in chocolate. The tannins are antibacterial—they kind of get rid of some of the bacteria that are in our mouths.”

It’s less important what you eat, Lott says, than how many times a day you eat it.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children should start visiting the dentist at 12 months or 6 months after the first tooth erupts. If a child gets a first tooth in its mouth at 3 months old, dentists want to see that child at 9 months to keep him or her free of decay.

Any final words on Halloween candy? “Children should have it with a meal, brush after they eat, and make sure it’s not squirreled away in the child’s room,” Lott says.

[www.cnn.com, October 30, 2006]